Enterpreneur: Michael Jordan

Turning Weakness Into Strength

Michael Jordan was not always destined to become an NBA player, let alone an NBA superstar

Michael Jordan

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying, said” – Michael Jordan

Growing up, Michael was the ‘goofy’ kid who liked basketball. He wasn’t very tall and didn’t come from an athletic family. He was determined, he had many setbacks and failures, but his hard work eventually paid off. For every weakness, Michael found a way to turn it into a strength and he never gave up.

Today, we know him as the greatest basketball player of all time and one of the world’s richest athletes.

When Michael first entered the league, his jump shot was not good enough. So, he spent his off-season practising hundreds of jump shots every day until they were perfect. In high school, Michael was even rejected by the basketball team.

For every weakness, Michael found a way to turn it into a strength and he never gave up. Today, we know him as the greatest basketball player of all time. Michael Jordan was born on 17th February 1963, in Brooklyn, New York, one of James and Deloris Jordan’s five children. His father taught him to work hard and not to be tempted by street life. His mother taught him to sew, clean, and do laundry.

Although he hasn’t played professional basketball since 2003, his fortune is growing at an even faster clip than during his playing days

Jordan loved sports but failed to make his high school basketball team as a sophomore. He continued to practice and made the team the next year. After high school, he accepted a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he played under head coach Dean Smith.

MICHAEL JORDAN AT A COUNTRY CLUB IN CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

In Jordan’s first season at North Carolina, he was named Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year for 1982. The team won the ACC championship, and Jordan made the clutch jump shot that beat Georgetown University for the championship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Jordan left North Carolina a year early to enter the 1984 NBA draft, where he was selected third overall by the Chicago Bulls. Two years later, he would return to North Carolina and complete his degree in geography.

At that time Chicago Bulls were a losing team, but Jordan quickly turned that around. His incredible leaping ability and hang time thrilled fans in arenas around the league. In his first season, he was named to the All-Star team and was later honoured as the league’s Rookie of the Year.

In 1993, after a tough playoff series with the New York Knicks, the Bulls met the Phoenix Suns for the NBA championship. When it was over, Jordan was again playoff MVP, and Chicago had won a third straight title. That summer Jordan’s father, James, was murdered by two men during a robbery attempt. Jordan was grief-stricken, and his father’s death led him to announce his retirement from professional basketball in October. Jordan had won three straight NBA titles, three regular season MVP awards, three playoff MVP titles, seven consecutive scoring titles, and he was a member of the All-Star team every year that he was in the league.

By the time Jordan left the NBA in 2003, he had made just over $94 million for his time on the court for the Chicago Bulls, and later the Washington Wizards.

Although he hasn’t played professional basketball since 2003, his fortune is growing at an even faster clip than during his playing days.

One reason for that is that his reputation and his brand as a basketball superstar continues to sell products. In 2014 alone, Jordan made more than $100 million from the use of his likeness by a variety of products.

TIME OF GLORY AT CHICAGO BULLS

His earnings in the endorsement arena stretch back more than 30 years to the beginning of his basketball career, in 1984. Just out of school and in the NBA for his rookie season, the 21-year-old Jordan signed a five-year, $2.5-million deal with Nike Inc. (NKE), which created the now-iconic Air Jordan basketball shoe. In 1996, he starred in the feature film “Space Jam,” which earned over $230 million worldwide at the box office.

By 2013, Nike had made the wildly successful Air Jordan shoe and apparel business into a separate entity, called the Jordan Brand. In 2013, Jordan made a reported $90 million from his relationship with Nike.

Between 2000 and 2012, Jordan made $480 million from his affiliation with Nike. But he also took home $18 million for endorsing Gatorade, $14 million from trading-card brand Upper Deck, and another $14 million from underwear giant Hanes (HBI), along with $10.6 million from XEL, a kind of cologne (which reportedly sold 1.5 million bottles in its first two months).

Before 2000, however, Jordan had been the nearly omnipresent face of a host of major American brands, endorsing Coca-Cola Co. (KO), Chevrolet (GM), Gatorade (PEP), McDonald’s (MCD), Ball Park Franks (TSN), Rayovac (SPB) and Wheaties (GIS). And he is very protective of his brand. In recent years, Jordan sued Dominick’s Finer Foods, a bankrupt Illinois supermarket chain, for using his name and picture on a 2009 steak coupon.

With the fortune he’d made from endorsements and playing in the NBA, Jordan purchased a stake in the Charlotte Hornets basketball franchise in 2006. Four years later, Jordan bought out the majority shareholder to become the first former NBA player to become the majority owner of a franchise, at the right time, as the values of NBA franchises have since skyrocketed, driving Jordan’s net worth past the $1 billion mark in 2015. In 2010, when he became the majority owner of the Hornets, the average value of an NBA franchise was $367 million. By 2015, thanks largely to a much richer television contract with ESPN (DIS) and Turner Broadcasting (TWC), the average value of a team has grown to $1.1 billion.

A fierce competitor with a carefully honed persona, and despite his gambling habits, Michael Jordan owes much of his endorsement career to his relatively clean public image

The Hornets are no exception, with the new TV deal set to pour an extra $57 million into its coffers annually. The completion of the deal increased the value of the team from $410 million in 2014 to $725 million in 2015.

Jordan enjoys a host of luxuries in his daily life, including his own private jet, which he had painted Carolina blue, and a 47-metre-long megayacht. He splits time between a custom-built $12.8-million mansion on a golf course and a $2.8-million lakefront house in Charlotte, after selling his 56,000-square-foot mansion in Highland Park, Illinois, for $29 million.

While Jordan’s fortune has grown steadily since 1984, there was one notable exception: the year 2007. That’s when he divorced his wife of 18 years, Juanita. She walked away with a record-setting divorce settlement of $168 million.

A fierce competitor with a carefully honed persona, and despite his gambling habits, Michael Jordan owes much of his endorsement career to his relatively clean public image. That image, however, has taken a few hits over the years due to Jordan’s taste for gambling.

In 1992, when Jordan was on the Olympic Basketball team playing in Barcelona, he would join Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley in all-night poker games. One of these high-stakes games went until 6 am, after which the three NBA legends slept for an hour and defeated the Croatian team for the gold medal by a score of 117 to 85.

According to observers, Jordan was playing craps almost nonstop at a Las Vegas casino during the 2007 NBA All-Star weekend. Jordan, who wouldn’t allow anyone else to roll the dice, reportedly lost over $5 million in a single night. In 1993, after a tough playoff series with the New York Knicks, the Bulls met the Phoenix Suns for the NBA championship. When it was over, Jordan was again playoff MVP, and Chicago had won a third straight title. That summer Jordan’s father, James, was murdered by two men during a robbery attempt. Jordan was grief-stricken, and his father’s death, combined with media reports about his gambling, led him to announce his retirement from professional basketball in October. Jordan had won three straight NBA titles, three regular season MVP awards, three playoff MVP titles, seven consecutive scoring titles, and he was a member of the All-Star team every year that he was in the league. In just nine seasons he had become the Bulls all-time leading scorer.

Earlier last year, Michael Jordan joined one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. Thanks to the skyrocketing value of NBA franchises over the last few years, MJ’s 90 per cent ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets earned him a spot on Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s billionaires.

Jordan is now a part of the gallery that also includes the President, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, various members of the Walton family, Oprah, Elon Musk, the Koch brothers and other achievers, inheritors, miscreants and scoundrels. According to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion, Jordan is the 455th-richest person in the U.S. That ranks him as only the world’s 18th-richest person named Michael, behind Bloomberg, Dell and 15 others.

Next up for Michael Jordan is converting his longtime obsession with golf into reality in the form of a golf course. The course will be built in Hobe Sound, Florida, which is just north of West Palm Beach, and it will reportedly open this year.